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Pet Obsessions Part 1

 by zack on 22 Aug 2013 |
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You know what phrase drives me crazy? “Pets are people too.” No they’re not. They’re pets. Would you scold a person for taking food off of the table? Would you ever clean up a person’s feces from your living room floor, and then lovingly pat him or her on the head? Of course not. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for pampering. Wanting to show your dog an inordinate amount of love and spoiling it rotten are fairly harmless vices. It’s the point at which you show them preferred treatment over humans that the line starts to blur. Pets are loving and valued companions but when you start treating them like people, you’ve crossed a line into crazy town. Yet never has this phenomenon been more common in today’s culture. Pet obsessed people are a dime a dozen and growing more prolific with every passing moment. Today we’ll look at this growing trend of the pet obsessed.
A perfect example of pet obsession that perhaps went a bit far happened recently in the news. A man saved his 9 year old Jack Russell Terrier from a sinking ship, swimming it safely to shore. Then he went back for his wife, whose safety line had apparently been snagged.

Let that sink in a moment.

I don’t know about all of you readers out there, but if I’d left my lady in a perilous position while paddling my pooch to safety, I’d be the one in peril when I went back for the second pickup. To be fair, the couple has declined to comment, so the extent of the danger the wife was in is somewhat unclear. Still, you can see the kind of mixed up level of priorities that pet obsession can create.

Rising Trend of Human/Pet Involvement
Now more than ever, pets are becoming major parts of a majority of households. According to a survey by Kelton Research, 81% of American pet owners think of their pets as full-fledged family members. 58% say that they are their pet’s mommies or daddies. As creepy as it is, I count myself among that 58%. And over half of Americans admit to talking more about their pets than they do about sex or politics. Politics I get, but more than sex? I’m glad I’m not part of that statistic.

Another survey conducted by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association said that pet ownership in America is also at an all-time high, with an estimated 71.1 million people owning either cats, dogs, or both. There is also a huge amount of money, over 41 billion dollars, being spent on pet products and healthcare on an annual basis.

These numbers, while not particularly ominous on their own, do indicate a rising trend of care and treatment of pets within recent years. So at what point does some harmless pampering spin out of control to become potentially damaging or dangerous behavior?

Check back next time to find out when a pet obsession crosses the line and becomes physically or socially damaging.


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